Data Science Investment Counter —Funding raised by UK data science companies in 2018.
£ 5.640 Million

Google DeepMind Cuts New Data-Sharing Deal with NHS

Google DeepMind has struck a five-year deal with the Royal Free NHS Trust, which will grant it access to the medical data of 1.6 million patients, through its healthcare app.

DeepMind— the London-based, Alphabet-owned Artificial Intelligence company— will roll-out the Streams app among the employees of the Royal Free in early 2017. Streams will notify healthcare professionals when a patient’s conditions worsen or their vital signs waver, so that immediate care can be provided.

Speaking to the Financial Times, DeepMind’s cofounder Mustafa Suleyman revealed his company would get a very low fee—which he described as “almost nothing”— for supplying the software.

For DeepMind, though, the real value of the deal comes from the vast amount of medical data it will make available for processing, and possibly for training healthcare-focused machine learning algorithms in the future.

A number of experts have already spoken out against the deal, on the grounds that it would give the private tech company free access to sensitive medical information— ranging from each patient’s medical casebook, to the full history of admissions and discharges from the Royal Free. The backlash follows the script of an almost identical controversy over another DeepMind-NHS data sharing deal, sparked by a New Scientist investigation in 2015.

Talking to WIRED UK, Suleyman dismissed the criticism as being ” “driven by a group with a particular view to peddle.”

“We’re acting as a processor on behalf of the controller, which is an agreement that is consistent with every other technology company that’s operating within the space,”  he added.


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